By the Sisters of Mercy
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
For at least a decade, five Critical Concerns have been identified by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas that continue to challenge their response to our broken world. They are: Non-violence, Immigration, Racism, Women and the Care for the Earth. The critical concern espoused by the Sisters of Mercy that relates to its ministry to those who are poor and underserved that many Christians see to find difficult to own and acknowledge is: Racism!
This past weekend, September 1-3, 2017, the Sisters, Mercy Associates, and co-ministers in their schools and sponsored ministries were given the opportunity to grapple with this difficult issue of Racism. The training was sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in collaboration with Crossroads International.
The trainers who came to Guam were Robette Dias and Jessica Torres of Crossroads, assisted by Mercy Sisters who previously underwent Antiracism Analysis Training: Srs. Helen Lubo-on and Virgencita Alegado from the Philippines and Sr. Trinie Pangelinan from Guam. The 40 participants went away enlightened and encouraged to tackle this problem that challenges both Christians and non-Christians alike. The recent racist-driven events in the United States are a prime example!
Prior to addressing objectives on how to deal with Racism, it was important to understand the definition of racism: Race Prejudice + Misuse of Power by Systems and Institutions = RACISM.
Reflecting on Guam’s experience of colonialism by the conquering super powers of Spain and the United States along with concurrent events on Guam, workshop participants engaged in the exercise of identifying the events and factors which contributed to racism. The ultimate challenge of the training is to engage in personal reflection, to exercise interior decolonization and to become better informed to participate in conversations and action that address racism on our island.
A second Critical Concern that was addressed this weekend was “Caring for the Earth.” All were invited to become educated on Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si,” and to take action by signing a pledge to observe the Season of Creation—September 1-October 4—by a threefold action: 1) Pray for and with Creation; 2) Live more simply; and 3) Advocate to protect our common home.
To close the Antiracism Analysis training, the participants celebrated the Season of Creation with a tree-planting ceremony at Mercy Heights Convent. As a bonus, participants were given seedlings to take home and plant at their residence or wherever they choose.
Another Laudato Si – “Season of Creation” event we are sponsoring is “Blessing of Animals” which is planned to take place on Sunday, October 1, at Plaza de España, Hagåtña.
More information will be provided by the Sisters of Mercy about these events. All are invited to celebrate the “Season of Creation” through actions of care, respect and advocating to protect our common home and one another from violence and harm.